The Bell Telephone Hour, aka The Telephone Hour, was a long-run concert series which began April 29, 1940 on NBC radio and was heard on NBC until June 30, 1958. Sponsored by Bell Telephone, it showcased the best in classical and Broadway music, reaching eight to nine million listeners each week. It continued on television from 1959 to 1968. Throughout the program's run on both radio and television, the studio orchestra on the program was conducted by Donald Voorhees.
After early shows featuring James Melton and Francia White as soloists, producer Wallace Magill restructured the format on April 27, 1942 into the "Great Artists Series" of concert and opera performers, beginning with Jascha Heifetz. The list of talents heard over the years included Marian Anderson, Bing Crosby, Benny Goodman, Nelson Eddy, José Iturbi, Oscar Levant, Lily Pons, Gladys Swarthout and Helen Traubel.
Rehearsal: The Bell Telephone Hour was a musical short, filmed in 1947, with Voorhees, Ezio Pinza and Blanche Thebom.
The series returned to radio in 1968-69 as Bell Telephone Hour Encores, aka Encores from the Bell Telephone Hour, featuring highlights and interviews from the original series.
July 14, 2012 Subject:
Thank you for posting these wonderful editions of The Bell Telephone Hour. This program showcases some of the very best singers, musicians and conductors of the time and is a valuable part of our American Heritage. I read that the radio program lasted for many years before being televised. I am hoping that you or someone else can post more of The Bell Telephone Hour.